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Meat processing company Moy Park confirms Covid-19 outbreak at plant in North

The company said it is working closely with the Public Health Agency.

Image: Liam McBurney via PA Images

MAJOR MEAT PROCESSING company Moy Park has confirmed that a Covid-19 outbreak had been identified at its plant in Ballymena in Northern Ireland.

Earlier today, the Public Health Agency (PHA) announced that a total of 16 clusters have been identified in Northern Ireland since the start of contact tracing in late May.

A cluster is defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases among people associated with a workplace, school or similar setting within 14 days.

A total of 133 cases were associated with the 16 clusters, and six involved more than five cases.

A Moy Park spokeswoman said: “We have been informed that a very small number of our employees in the Ballymena site have tested positive for coronavirus.

“The individuals affected have been self-isolating on full pay in line with our Covid sick pay scheme and we are in contact with them to ensure they have the support they require.

“We continue to work closely with the Public Health Agency and other government agencies, following their advice and protocols.

“As coronavirus has spread across the communities in which we live, we are doing all that we can to help keep the virus out of our facilities and help prevent its spread.

“Staff safety is our number one priority and we continue to strictly follow all safeguarding procedures across our sites, such as enhanced cleaning and hygiene regimes, thermal temperature scanning, Perspex screens, additional PPE and social distancing measures.” 

The Public Health Agency has declined to comment on individual cases, stating today that clusters of cases are expected. 

Since 24 may, 16 clusters have been identified in Northern Ireland in total with 133 associated cases. 

“To date the majority of clusters that have occurred have been managed effectively through the contact tracing programme, and where we need to advise or inform the public of any increased risk to public health we will do so in a timely manner,” the agency said in a statement today.

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The BBC reported that Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann has said the PHA was working with Moy Park and that “it’s important we do not engage in speculation”. 

“We have always said we will expect outbreaks and clusters as we start to ease restrictions, but what we really need is for people to interact with test track and tracing so we can manage them,” Swann said. 

The minister stressed that the term “outbreak” refers to two or more people being involved. 

Includes reporting by Press Association

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